Massively OP’s 2019 Awards: Most Improved MMORPG


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2019 awards continue today with our award for Most Improved MMORPG, which was awarded to RuneScape last year. All live MMOs, regardless of release date, were eligible for this award, provided they made improvements this year. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Most Improved MMORPG of 2019 is…


Andy McAdams: Nothing. We gave the award to BDO, but I said no one. In my estimation, games either held their ground or faceplanted into the dirt so many times it was ridiculous. I don’t think any game earned the Most Improved title this year.

Brianna Royce: If I’m perfectly honest, I thought Black Desert deserved game of the year this year, though I fear I was unable to convince many of my colleagues to side with me. So failing that, I’m glad to see Black Desert getting more attention here, and truthfully, there was no MMORPG more improved this year, as Pearl Abyss pushed the game to three brand-new platforms in the span of a dozen months. I likewise thought that Elder Scrolls Online deserved a nod for its efforts on shoring up its technical backend, and No Man’s Sky deserved attention for continuing to pump out free content in its journey toward becoming a real MMO. But they’ll get theirs.

Carlo Lacsina: BDO. It’s been a strong two years for Black Desert Online. Even though the remaster and the marketboard updates last year, it was the harbinger of things to come. Adding new classes, more grind spots, the improvement to boats, cleaning up various bugs, and now the incoming addition of successions, this game has come a long way from even early 2018. If you haven’t given it a try yet, it’s a great time to dive in. It’s one of the best MMOs that offers a old-school-yet-refined approach to grinding!

Chris Neal: SWTOR. When the stewards of your game IP give you an official nod some several months after you were stricken from the original canon, you must be doing something right. I still take umbrage with the way SWTOR does its monetization, but by and large it feels like things just generally got better. Not great, but improved. Which is what this award’s about, isn’t it?

Colin Henry: Black Desert.

Eliot Lefebvre: ESO, BDO. The Elder Scrolls Online didn’t produce anything as good as Shadowbringers this year (but what could) but it kept churning out a very nice and steady series of content additions and updates that ultimately winds up being really impressive. ESO has generally done a good job with that; it produces a good stream of solid content for a few years running now.

Justin Olivetti: I threw in for Guild Wars 2 on this one because it started the year in a really rough spot but steadily clawed its way back to story updates and feature patches by 2019’s end. Fallout 76 probably deserves a nod here as well if we are strictly looking at content offerings.

Mia DeSanzo: No Man’s Sky was my pick, even though it isn’t really an MMO. I have been playing since day 1, and I have loved it from the start, since I went in knowing nothing of what had been promised, but it is a completely different game today, and all those changes and improvements have been free. Hello Games has pulled off the rare and difficult phoenix maneuver. I do play a crazy amount of BDO, though, so this doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

MJ Guthrie: I always feel like this award insinuates that a most improved game goes from not good to good when that really isn’t the case. Improved just means “got better!” and also “got even better!” Last year my vote was to a game that expanded on a another platform and pulled in/back a number of players by doing so. Using that metric, Black Desert Online gets it for expanding onto three new platforms! There have been a number of other changes and added classes too.

Samon Kashani: ArcheAge Unchained. OK, I can totally understand that AAU shouldn’t be the game of the year. But it seems like a shoo-in for most improved. Year after year I’d read about the huge kerfluffle and shenanigans going on with AA. Then, AAU launches and for me it’s been smooth. I’ve had fun (although there are some ganking problems). Overall it went from a dud to a stud!

Tyler Edwards: I fought tooth and nail to give this award to Anthem, but was ultimately voted down. BioWare has a done a tremendous job of responding to feedback and addressing Anthem’s issues since launch. Sure, it still has some problems, but I doubt any other game has improved so much this year.

Black Desert won our award for Most Improved MMORPG of 2019. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the most improved MMO of 2019?

  • Black Desert (10%, 78 Votes)
  • ArcheAge Unchained (7%, 52 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky (11%, 88 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (5%, 41 Votes)
  • SWTOR (7%, 52 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft and WoW Classic (4%, 34 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (8%, 67 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (11%, 89 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 6 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (3%, 25 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 0 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (1%, 4 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Fallout 76 (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Warframe (3%, 26 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (3%, 21 Votes)
  • Anthem (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (5%, 41 Votes)
  • Division 2 (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Nothing (11%, 86 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 692

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few weeks to nominate and discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all games nominated plus other released, live MMOs we thought had a chance!

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IronSalamander8 .

I gotta go with CoX. They’ve added some powers that were only tested live or never were live at all, at least one new zone, and some balancing and other improvements. That’s amazing for a game that is run largely on donations.

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It feels strange to group World of Warcraft and WoW classic together. Is that a vote for saying that WoW is worse than classic, that classic is better than pirate servers or WoW has improved. It seems complicated.

Christmas Dog

They are on the same subscription so I took that to mean WoW Classic being the improvement for WoW players. It wouldn’t make sense to consider classic on it’s own as “most improved” as it has only been out for a few months.


I voted F76 because it literally had to do the least to achieve the most improvement, considering its launch state.


Yes you’re right, they could have literally sold flaming bags of dog crap calling it an expansion and it still would have been a strong contender for most improved.

Vinnie travi

For it is Wow, because of Classic. It is the most fun I have had in a MMO in 10 years. I never played Vanilla before so this was a new game to me


City of Heroes released more content than your average live game.


I picked SWTOR because they released an expansion, considering their output for the past few years an expansion release is a massive improvement for them technically speaking.

Bruno Brito

SWG Legends.

Dug From The Earth

City of heroes has added new archetypes, new power sets, new costume parts, new zones, new missions, new events, new features and tons of bug fixes…

Just sayin

Demon of Razgriz
Demon of Razgriz

…..For a game that was “dead” at the beginning of the year and, despite everything, has made a entire fan base feel alive again. Oh, and it’s not funded nor supported by any major studio. That says a lo to me about the current and future state of the industry.

blah blazh

I enjoy playing BDO from time to time. Mostly because of the action combat. But what in the game has improved?


By improved does that mean that BDO actually got co-op content added in and reduced the scumminess of their cash shop?


Co-op content yes, with some of the mini-game modes that no one really plays. Game is still highly P2W, if anything it continues becoming more so


Game creators in the West cater to a different player base. These games that come over from Korea, and China include P2W because the culture is good with it. Archeage is the same hot mess because of this.


Yeah, to be honest it doesn’t really bother me all that much. “Winning” the PVP modes just isn’t a priority for me, and the open world ganking has enough negative consequences that it’s not a huge drag on my PVE

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It depends on what you want to do: If you want to catch up to hardcore pvp people, then yes it’s extremely p2w, but if you just want to get your grind on they are giving away a decent amount of stuff you had to pay for back in the day. Example: you get 3 free cash shop pets from questing